For The Love of Sports

basketballJune. Graduations. Tassels. Every year my mind goes back to my own school days and it is as though it was yesterday. I was a school girl in the Fifties. Ah, the Fifties. We were so fortunate to live in the Fifties…as long as I could play sports. I never lied and said I loved school. In my mind, studies took a back seat…way back seat..to the afternoon softball game or that evening’s basketball game.

When did I start loving baseball?  Probably when I was seven or eight years old and my brother, Rex, and I listened to the Red Sox on our old Philco radio. Curt Gowdy was the announcer and many an afternoon, we sat on our rickety front steps with the radio blaring from the kitchen corner. We made sure it was shut off well in advance of the parents coming home from work…and we saved the battery for the news that evening.

We had one bat and a glove and ball. The front yard was minuscule, but a rock here and there served as bases and we filled many days with taking turns to bat and pretending we were at Fenway. Rex was Bobby Doerr and indeed, years later, he was outstanding in the infield for our Woodstock High. I credit our front yard practices for his success later in life with the baseball team.

Years later, it came to pass that many a summer evening a few car loads of people came down from Lockes Mills and what was known as the “flat” turned into our own private ball field. I was the only girl to play and was shown no mercy. I have no idea why, after all these years, one play stands out in my mind. I was playing second base with a runner on first. The batter hit a line drive, the runner started to advance. I leaped and caught the ball and threw it to first to double up the runner. That must have been a shining moment in my life because I remember that more vividly than giving the Valedictory speech at my high school graduation!

My mother was not the happiest that her only daughter was an extension of her sons and loved the game of baseball. But wait! A few years later, she drove me on Sunday afternoons to the ball field at Lockes Mills to see the Greenwood team play. She was hooked!  She was more afraid of her windshield being broken by a foul ball, so she parked as far away as she could, which resulted in our dragging our lawn chairs quite the distance. Many an afternoon of entertainment came out of that ball field.

High school and softball became my sole comfort amongst the dull subjects handed to me. If I could play softball, I could ignore the discomfort of biology, algebra and all the other subjects which bored me to tears.

I played left field and third base…wherever I was needed most. I doubt that my brother remembers showing me a little trick I used while batting. I doubt , also, that it is anything which anyone used, but it worked for him…and for me. I got up in the batters box, looked out to see where there was an empty hole and when the pitcher delivered, shifted my feet and weight so that I could hit the ball where there was no opposition. Always thanked my brother for that tip…though it had no practical use in my future. I looked good for a little while.

During my four years of high school and playing softball, there was only one incident that scared the daylights out of everyone, including the coach. I was helping with the bases before the start of a game, was bending down, and when I straightened up, someone threw a baseball for some reason and it hit me in the temple. I saw stars, the coach came running. I remained on my feet but , yes, I actually cried and was helped to the bench. When the game began, I was up and at them again, fully recovered but with a ghastly headache. That incident has come in handy over the years because if I forget anything, I always say, “I was hit in the temple with a baseball once…” and trust me, the older I get, the more I am using it.

My three sons were all on Farm teams and then Little League and what joy to go watch them play. By this time I was writing for the newspapers and I got in touch with Johnny Pesky of the Red Sox and asked for some used baseballs for Alan’s farm team. He answered me promptly and said he had turned it over to someone whose name I can’t recall right now ( I was hit on the temple with a baseball once) and in the mail came a big carton of baseballs that the Sox had used in batting practice!

I was still listening to the Sox on the radio in my farm kitchen and eventually had a writing relationship with Ned Martin, who never forgot to send me a Christmas card until his untimely death. I also corresponded with Mel Parnell, who was a great pitcher turned broadcaster. In my box of baseball memories are a couple letters from Johnny Pesky.

And so it goes…baseball has always been a big part of my life..will always be.

Apologies to all those who really don’t care about the game.  I could start over, but the Sox are playing tonight and I don’t want to miss Chris Sale pitching.

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Ayuh, It Stays With You Forever

I was minding my own business, when it started all over again. Now mind you, I may have been a little cranky, having to rise early that morning for an echo cardiogram. I didn’t think they made appointments that early..really I didn’t. But I had mangled my way through that and was presently perched ( not pleasantly, but presently) on a table in the doctor’s office. I’ll preface this by also saying I loathe having to climb up and sit on that table when there are perfectly good looking chairs within reach of my backsides. I digress. The perky little nurse wanted me there for a reason, so I perched. Ah, ha, the old EKG routine. They hadn’t seen enough of my heart, so one more time. Here a patch, there a patch, everywhere a patch with a wire attached. You people who’ve had one know exactly what I am talking about.

I pride myself with my spirit of cooperation in health matters. I had maybe an eye roll or two, but then came THAT moment. Ms. Perky looked as she attached the last patch and said, “You’re from Massachusetts, aren’t you.” Not a question; a statement. I still wonder if my eyes glazed the way they felt. “No”, I replied ( in what my son recalled later as a very frosty voice), ” I am from Maine.”   She may have felt a jolt of ice because she admitted that she knew I must be from “one of those places.”

It’s nothing new. Years ago, while working in retail one evening, a lady customer piled her purchases in front of me and after a short conversation , remarked, “You’re from London, aren’t you.” Not a question, but  another statement. “No, I’m from Maine.” “No, you’re not. You’re from London. I can tell by the accent.” Now we have always heard that the customer is always right, but this was beginning to grate on me just a bit. “Sorry, M’am , I’m from Maine.” She drew herself to full height ( at least it appeared so) and told me that I could fool some people but she KNEW her accents. That night I became a citizen of the United Kingdom.

Early in our marriage, Dick and I were in my mother’s kitchen one night when a whole bunch of her friends came to visit. It was a tea, coffee and chat group for about an hour or so. The next morning, I asked Dick if he enjoyed  meeting every one and he said, “yes, but I didn’t understand a word they said.” So much for the poor “out-of-stater”. In our 41 years, he got accustomed to hearing me talk ( or maybe it was selective hearing) and did understand more. However, the unique sayings always threw him.

We were visiting one other time when my mother was in an agitated state because one of her friends had been in an automobile accident. “That car was all stove up,” she went on to say. Dick never changed expression, but when she left the room , he said “What does a stove have to do with a car wreck?” Poor man.

So many expressions surface over the years. My Dad always added to his good-bye, “Keep  your powder dry ” or at a speeding car up the Greenwood Road, “he was hell bent for leather.”

I have to add the one time that my Maine accent almost got me in trouble.  I was working on the front desk of the chiropractor’s office and , unfortunately, was the last few minutes of a long, busy day. A patient had been seen and was on the way out. She stopped to schedule and pay and the doctor came out with her to wind things up. I answered a question the doctor asked and the patient looked rather strangely at me and said “you’re not from around here, are you..” where upon the good Doc said, “No, Sandy is from Maine.” Now you won’t believe this, but this woman actually said, “Oh, Lord, is there anything more ugly than that Maine accent? I cannot stand to listen to it one minute.” Yeah, she actually said that. Now Doc knew that simmering beneath my smile was a keg of dynamite, and he turned and retreated to his inner adjustment room.

I handed the woman her receipt which she swept into her purse and remarked, “Well, I haven’t been to Maine lately” and may God forgive me, I looked at her and said, “And I am sure the natives thank you.” She swept out of the office, leaving a huge “WELLLL” behind.  I held my breath for a couple of days, but guess she didn’t lodge a complaint.

Did I mention she was really ugly, too? 

 

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And They all Survived~~

I must have been a terrible mother as was my mother before me…that is, by today’s standards. There’s the picture of my Dad holding a terrified me on top of the car , and he’s looking so proud of the fact he is terrorizing his only daughter. Well, someone better report him for child abuse, that’s all I can say.  Another great example was the day my mother chased me along the path in the woods with a switch stick ( plenty of those living in the forest) because I played too long with my cousins and neglected the chores at home. I still remember the sting on the back of my bare legs. Bet they would have had to answer to a higher power had I possessed the child abuse hot line. Now mind you, I know there is a great need for authorities to step in when needed and, unfortunately there is a great deal of child abuse in this country. It is a world changing and I have been around long enough to see the change…yup, the time’s they are a changin’.

I was no better at parenting. The four kids that came into the farm house in four years were subjected to threats constantly. My little switch leaned against the kitchen wall and when the boys got bickering, I would finally say, “OK you want the switch?” “NO NO NO” they’d say and head for the great outdoors. You know, I cannot remember ever having to do more than just reach for it and they were gone.

The three oldest were put in the back seat of the car helter-skelter and the youngest I held in my lap as their father drove. When the family consisted of just the first baby, she was put in a portable bed and tossed on the back seat to ride merrily along. No restraints whatsoever and sometimes the rides were designed to make her fall asleep.

The day came when I had my own little VW bug. Three in the back and one in  the passenger seat telling me how to drive. I did not know, at the time, the two younger boys were taking notes to taunt me in my golden years. So I drove a little fast down Town Line Hill and through Velvet Hollow. Now I know this is a horrid thing to even admit, but being the honest writer I try to be, I shall lay it on the line.

One day the four and I were motoring along in the little Bug. One of my fabulous four was in the “whining” phase of his life. After all these years, I remember the exact spot this happened. He was in the back seat whining in my left ear…it was constant like a mosquito at midnight in the dark of your bed. What he was whining about has long been forgotten, but the end of the rope had come. I hissed over my shoulder that he should stop or he would be walking home. ( Threat #1). It continued. I asked if he had heard me. No reply. (Threat #2) Whining continued. I pulled the car to the side of the road and said, ( I am sorry to even write this) “Get Out.” A primal scream , “Why, NOooooooooo”.  I actually told the child to get out of the car and walk home. Now you know and I know I would never have allowed him to exit the car, but this was the (#3 Ultimate threat). Silence. Dead silence. I asked him if he was ready to be quiet so we could drive home and yes, he was, he said.  Were it today, he would have been fumbling for his smart phone and the child abuse hot number and hey, who could have blamed him for having such a horrid mother? But , you know, that boy never whined again…at home or in the car.

As you can see by the picture, there was no controlling them when outside. They hung upside down from trees, probably ate dirt and from witnessing it, know that they threw dirt at each other.  I am sure they probably drank water from a stagnant brook and had I known about it, even I would have put a stop to that.

At school, if there was any bullying, it was rare.  There was one incident where a boy was making fun of one of my four and his brother knocked his two front teeth out…that was interesting. As soon as they trooped home from school and I heard the story, I immediately called the boy’s mother to apologize and to see what I could do…the teeth were permanent teeth at that point. The mother said,”Don’t worry about it . He went to the dentist and he deserved what he got.” Well what are the chances of that happening in today’s world. It might; I don’t know as I am well out of the scope of school activities now with even my grandchildren being OLD.

How the world changes. My brothers and I, along with most of the kids in that little town in Maine, more or less fended for ourselves as our parents worked in the mill. During the summer, we found what we needed to eat at noon, did our chores, built tree houses. I do have a couple scars from falling on my face racing from my brother during one of our classic brawls and one on my hand when a glass tumbler broke as I wiped it. That was life.

We drank from the same dipper from a well. We probably double dipped if there was anything to dip into. Life was so simple. But we have to recognize the world is not the same now; life goes on but it changes every second.  I just know I am glad my kids survived their upbringing because by today’s standards, I must have been one awful mother.

Bravo to all the mothers today and grandparents helping out because it sure is a whole different story.

When Mama Danced the Polka

It was last Saturday evening as I sat alone, staring at the street light on the intersection. What would I be doing if I were back in Greenwood Center, Maine, on a Saturday night back in the Fifties. Well, in the first place, I would be full of energy as a teenager and wondering “what was going on” that evening. Since we had no phone with my father declaring we would never have one in the house disturbing him, I had to rely on word of mouth.

At the time dance halls were “the thing!”  My mother loved dancing more than anything , even after working long days in the mill all week. Saturday night was the night for her to “kick up her heels”. Fine with my father as long as he did not have to participate.  There were times , though, when he gave up his western dime novels, changed his mill “dickies” for his “good dress” pants and off they went.

Sunday morning conversations were always a delight. Over the morning coffee would be the usual complaints from my father.  The hall was too hot; the hot dog dry and too much noise. This , of course, made my mother just cringe having to listen to criticisms of her favorite pasttime.

In fact, the truth was the only dance my father wanted to do was the polka. He was not a tall man, but much taller than my five foot tall mother. As she told it, he always grabbed her and SLUNG her across one side of the dance hall and it was pure hell when they came to corners as she had no idea where his feet were going or where she would end up. She remarked that one day she felt like he might throw her through the side of the building simply because he had no clue himself. I think the fact that he threw in a few clog steps might have thrown her off as well.

The story goes..and I am not sure this is totally true…that one night at Abner’s dance hall, there were not enough polkas played resulting in my father becoming bored. Mother continued dancing, no matter the song but suddenly heard a strange sound from the orchestra seating. She looked up to find my father had taken a seat at the piano and had decided to become part of the band. He did not know how to play a piano nor did he care at that point.  It is to their credit the band was very good natured about the sudden appearance of this addition and gracefully brought the tune to a closure, while my mother escorted him from the stage.  That whole episode was credited to maybe a few too many “Old Narragansett” beers , if I understood the Sunday morning briefing correctly. 

There was also the episode of my father’s “disappearance” as we referred to it in later years. Again, mother was so desperate to go dancing, she agreed to have him accompany her if he could “behave himself.” At the morning briefing, it seems  she heard a polka start and couldn’t find him. Thinking it was unusual for him to miss the only dance he would tolerate, she started searching.  Nowhere was he to be seen inside the hall. Finally, she ventured outside , looked up and my father was climbing a huge evergreen, being egged on by someone probably just as ill-behaved as he was at the moment. She left him there, went inside, found a polka partner and said for once she rounded a corner with both of her feet still on the floor. I really liked those Sunday morning briefings.

There was Abners in Albany, Benny’s or the Bluebird Pavillion down on Route 26  and over Hanover way was the Top Hat Pavillion. Those were the three hot spots..that is, until that big box with the picture showed up. Television started to make its mark and word was that dancers were staying home to watch one show or another.  My favorite was George Goebel and I have to admit I spent a few Saturday nights at home to watch this new form of entertainment. My father divided his time between his western paperbacks and watching Lawrence Welk so he could see with his own eyes, the fabulous Myron Floren on the accordion playing…what else…polkas!

Meanwhile, my mother accepted the television, but in her heart nothing could replace getting out of mill clothes, putting on a pretty dress , her dancing shoes and heading for one of the local dances. Father sat in his morris chair, feet on the hassock, paperback balanced on one side and wished her a happy time.

His one constant remark was “Come in quiet and don’t make a lot of racket.” …which brings to mind the one occasion I accompanied my oldest brother to Abner’s..when I was probably sixteen years old. After the dance we rode around as teenagers did back then and ended up sitting and talking with some others. There was no such thing as a clock in our minds.  We drove into the yard and let the car coast to keep as quiet as possible.

My father was not concerned about my brother as he was, by then, old enough to take care of himself, but his daughter was another issue. I tiptoed up to the door, reached out for the knob and my father was on the other side. He opened the door, looked at me and with a grand gesture of his hand straight ahead, remarked, “The sun is coming up over Moose Cove.” That was all he said; that was all he had to say. I went up the stairs to my bed in probably three leaps.

It was not mentioned in the Sunday morning briefing but I figured I had come pretty close to disaster. From that day on, I let Mama dance the polka.

 

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Thoughts Turn to Home

Perhaps it is the circumstances of the past year that makes me think more of home and the little village of Locke Mills, Maine than ever before.  I’ve been away a long time, or so it seems, from the lakes and mountains which I love so much. A million things have happened in the almost 42 years I’ve been away. I married, lost my husband last October, developed heart problems and other health issues of my own and for the first time, I find my thoughts traveling back to the little town and all its people. This morning, I am sitting here with sight from only one eye, waiting impatiently to hear when I can be treated with laser to get the film from my left eye. Maybe my impatience has made me long for the old time doctors back in the “old days” who responded with what knowledge they possessed  for such things. I don’t know.  As most would say, “probably your age has got to you..”  That could be as well!!

I think of the “filling station” located on the corner of the Greenwood Road and Route 26 , way back when Ray Langway operated the business. I looked forward to Sunday mornings when Dad would grab the little blue can from the kitchen corner, announce he was going to Langway’s to get kerosene for the week and if any of us wanted to ride along. The kerosene was seventeen cents, if memory serves me right. I’d go in the store, glance at the candy counter, but mostly at the magazines and wish I had a million dollars and buy every one I saw. Eating and reading were my two top priorities at the time. Ray was always so friendly to all and treated me like I was a grown-up. He and Dad exchanged the local goings-on and home we would go!

Hank Leach owned the store at the top of the hill in town and he was another who treated youngsters well. We waited there each morning for the high school bus to come from Bryant Pond and on those miserable cold winter mornings, he’d drive up from his home by South Pond and open the door so we could all go in and sit on the wooden plank atop the radiators to get warm. We may have dropped a few pennies for pencils or erasers or a notebook, but his sales were meager when it came to a bunch of poor high school students.

Down the hill, on the left, Arthur Vallee had his store atop a bunch of long, wide cement steps leading up to it. After a day at the high school, if there were no sports, I waited on the steps for the whistle to blow, the mill to open its doors and all the workers to spill out and go in different directions. Sometimes my mother would come into the store and pick up a few things for our supper and Mr. Vallee put them “on the cuff” until payday which was always Friday. I remember the glass cookie jar in which was stored some white and pink puffy cookies with coconut sprinkled on top. Those were my favorite in all the world and occasionally Ma would spring for six of those for a treat. Those you ate very slowly, savoring every marshmallow-y bite! If I had a spare nickel, I’d go for a Dixie cup , open it up and see what movie star’s picture was under the lid…then I’d take that wooden spoon and devour the ice cream!!

The street was lined with pretty houses that I would just look at and wonder how beautiful they must be inside. At one point in my young life, a Mrs. Lister (sp?) had the post office within her house at the bottom of the hill. We were forbidden to cross that land and hop the brook to the elementary school. The teachers were forever repeating that we must follow the sidewalk around ….no short cuts!!!

I’ve written about the wonderful old town hall which holds so many memories . Of course, the church remains where my children attended Sunday School and I sang in the choir for years. In all the years, there’s been an addition built and so many other things to keep it beautiful inside.

I sometimes think of the foolhardy capers I got into and wonder why I remained alive. I won a bicycle in a contest at Mr. Leach’s store when I was in the eighth grade. After school, I went up to the store, hopped on the bike and Mr. Leach told me some nuts and bolts should be tightened. I assured him I would be fine and rode it the four miles home. Lucky for me, they were tightened enough to hold together. Oh, to be that carefree and daring again!!!

My mind travels over the little village several times a week and I marvel at the closeness of the people. I smile when I read of fund raisers; of people helping others in time of need without question. I visualize the town meetings where everyone gathers to discuss, vote and top it off with a great meal put on by one of the Ladies Organizations. At least that is how it used to be!

I hope that way of living goes on forever and is never lost. I also am thinking once all these health issues are laid to rest or leveled out, it is time for me to come home for a visit.

Stay well, my home town folks!

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Springtime in the “Center”

There was one constant in springtime in Greenwood Center, Maine. Mud! Our driveway was chocolate pudding with my father’s tire tracks looking like two fingers had swirled their way through. My mother cautioned us constantly about bringing mud in on the bottom of our shoes as “she was not about to be washing the floor every other day.”

The first sign of spring, to me, was the brook rushing by the house…and soon the snow on the bank melted bit by bit. What joy to run, even on the brown remnants of last fall, along the bank of the brook. We shed those heavy clothes of winter and felt free with the warm sun on our faces.

My mother mixed a concoction of vinegar and water and scrubbed the windows on her days off from the mill. Curtains were taken down and initially cleaned on the old scrub board, until years later when my brother Tink bought her first wringer washer. (Yes, I did catch a finger in it). We had very little materially, but spring meant that doors and windows could be flung open and the winter dust could escape!

What we couldn’t escape, of course, was Ma’s home remedies for preventing the dreaded “worms ” and other parasitic visitors to our bodies. The brothers also got a healthy serving of Father John’s medicine. I cannot recall any foreign bodies invading us because of the spring season. Of course, we all eventually had the usual diseases all kids will have from one varying degree to another.  It took forever for us to break out with the chicken pox and Ma said we would feel better once we did. At long last, Dad decided he would go to Dan Cole’s and get some “sheep turd” and brew up some tea and that would bring out the spots. No need. The mere thought of it and we erupted in good shape.

Meanwhile, across the pasture Gram Martin had her rugs on the line and she and Uncle Louis were beating the dust out of them with a vengeance. Grampa sat with his canes, watching the action and I am sure, giving his two cents worth. I never saw a neater house than my Gram Martin’s …there was even a lid that came down over the wood box so one could sit down for an extra seat and that was scrubbed clean. Like most homes, at the time, there was  no indoor plumbing, but her “privvy” was the best! Every inch of the walls was covered with colorful pictures she had cut from magazines and since it was located within the barn, one could sit and be entertained while not worrying about the cold of the winter or animals!

Spring meant really one thing to me. Baseball!! Oh, how I loved listening to the Red Sox play. Rex and I turned on the old Philco radio during the day, being careful not to run the battery down so that Dad could listen to the news that night. I could not wait until all the snow left the yard and we could take turns batting and pitching.

Years later, it was almost time for folks to come down from Locke Mills and we’d have a pick up game on the “flat”. Oh, what evenings to look forward to when the cars arrived and we chose teams. The flat is no longer; that was long ago and far away. Every time I ride through the Center, I glance at the field full of trees and wonder if it was just my imagination that I once played baseball almost every spring and summer night there. At times, it is true, you can’t go home.

My Uncle Roy was getting his strawberry beds in shape for the coming season. Uncle Louis was already thinking about next winter’s fire wood. He was a planner.

Gram Martin’s lilac bush by the road blossomed and the air was perfumed clear to our yard. My mother had a secret mayflower patch and each year would go to the clotheline, kneel down, and brush leaves away with her hand. A few hours later, in the middle of our oil cloth covered table would be a jar filled with the beautiful little flowers. They were her favorites.

Twitchell Pond grew darker and blacker each day; thinning ice pulled away from the shores and everyone was guessing the “ice out” day. The fishermen were the most eager to see it go and get the boats readied. Uncle Louis painted his a deep green color each year.

Spring. What a wonderful season of re-birth. Why does it take so long to get here? I don’t know…but it’s worth waiting for, isn’t it.

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THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL

It was the happiest of days. Had I realized it at the time, I would have savored every moment and filled a jar of memories for the years I am living now.  It is not uncommon for someone in their elder years to compare today’s surroundings with those in their childhood years. For some reason, schools always come to the fore when I start placing A next to B.

The smell of the well oiled floors greeted us each fall and a certain excitement filled the air. Who would be our teacher? Would there be any new kids?  I cannot remember any problem with bullying. Most of the kids were in the same financial category. Most parents worked in the mill across the road from the school. There were no designer jeans and fancy clothes.

To most of us, the opportunity of having swings and teeter boards to use during recess was something we looked forward to each day.

I had a love/hate relationship with school. From the very first day, I was bored with Dick and Jane and Spot and the teacher, Miriam McAllister sensed it. She soon had me trying different arithmetic problems to keep my mind off the paper cutter at the rear of the room which seemed to attract me for some reason.

There is one memory and I have no idea why it sticks in my  mind so vividly to this day. I was in the first grade and Mrs. McAllister was having us read or was reading  to us about some Chinese people and drinking tea and where that originated etc. Suddenly, a feeling of revulsion came over me and I thought”Those are very bad people.” Never before nor since have I ever had that thought or felt that way. I remember shuddering and wishing we could go on to another story.

I am placing my sanity in your hands when I go on with this tale. Years later, on a lark, I accompanied others to a reading by either a medium, psychic, or whomever and she asked if I believed in reincarnation. At the time, it was not a subject I readily thought about, so gave a half hearted shrug. She looked at me and  said, “In a former life you lived in Mongolia. You sold jewelry and you were shot in the street. You were not involved , just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”  It was then the feeling in the first grade leaped into my mind. Well, it is anyone’s guess but I thought it strange that I should remember a feeling I experienced when I was six years old…

Lunch time meant , in good weather, sitting on the school grounds, opening our brown paper bags and examining what was within. What we found , we shared with the village dog, Sandy, who knew exactly what time to visit. My brothers and I usually had biscuits with peanut butter and/or jelly and perhaps a cookie or a cracker with peanut butter. Anything to fill the hole, as Ma used to say. We ate it and were happy.

Our music department consisted of a lady coming in on a Friday morning, pounding the piano while the entire school assembled in the “big” room and sang along. There was no gym and Phys Ed, but a whole school yard where we became hooligans during noon hour and recess.

There was no school nurse. Teachers kept bandaids and the basics in their desk drawers for small emergencies.  A doctor came at least once a  year to administer shots. I remember a small pox vaccination which was not a favorite day in my memory bank.

We collected dimes for the March of Dimes; picked milkweed for the service men so they would have parachutes they needed. It was the time of World War 2 and everyone knew someone who was overseas.

In the photo below you see the entire third, fourth and fifth grades assembled on the school steps to commemorate a really fun day…as you can see, the Clown came to entertain us. I cannot remember one thing he did, but it broke the monotony of another school day. Mrs. Ruth Ring stands in back of all her hooligans …imagine being responsible for three grades at one time!!

I loved some of my teachers and those I didn’t love, I learned to respect because I was deathly afraid of them…which was good because my sense of humor was always getting me in trouble. Frances Gunther and Olive Lurvey put the fear of God in me and I learned more from them than I can express.  Ruth Ring was a softie but such a patient teacher…look at what she had to work with at the time! I dearly loved Gale Webber, our seventh grade teacher, because it was beyond my imagination that a man would be a teacher. I have no clue why I felt that way. Sorry to say he left after that one year, and we had another , a Mr. Guy Meserve, who boarded with the Norwood Fords on Bird Hill for the school year. I will not even go into the details of my final year at the little school house. Suffice it to say, Mr. Meserve’s favorite expression was “You’re not putting me through a knot hole and putting the plug in after me.”  That was not directed completely at me, but at the room in general.

The little school house, in comparison with today’s schools and expectations was sadly lacking in so much, but on the other hand offered so much that is not seen in the present day.

Summing it up, we were just a bunch of happy kids.IMG_1960

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